Deploying Permissions in .NET framework

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After you've got managed code to award permissions, it needs to run on the machine with FullTrust Otherwise, it won't have permission to modify the permission policy (it must also be running as a Win32 Administrator) Placing an EXE on a Web server and asking users to click on a link won't do, because then the code will be in a partially trusted environment and we're back where we started The easiest way to package managed code for fully trusted execution on the client machine is to use a Microsoft Installer file MSI files are executed by a runtime engine that downloads the code to the machine before running it, thereby giving us the permissions we need to award other permissions Also, MSI files have built-in support in the intranet world for deployment tools such as Systems Management Server and Active Directory In a less sophisticated deployment environment, such as smaller businesses or the Internet, you can provide a link that, after a prompt, executes the MSI file on the user's machine Even if all your users have to run the MSI themselves, that still requires only one installation to enable the permissions needed for, say, every NTD application deployed from the IT group's internal Web site There are many ways to build MSI files, but the most readily available one comes with advanced versions of VSNET The trick is to convince a setup project to execute your code during installation Assuming you've got a VSNET solution with a setup project and a class library project, you have only two major tasks left to do this convincing The first task is to add a class to your class library project that derives from SystemConfigurationInstallInstaller and is tagged with the RunInstaller(true) attribute An instance of any such class will be created by the MSI engine during setup, so that's where you put your custom code The easiest way to get such a class is to right-click on your class library project in Solution Explorer and choose Add New Item | Code | Installer Class It will create a place for your permission award code in the constructor: [RunInstaller(true)]
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public class Installer1 : SystemConfigurationInstallInstaller { public Installer1() { // TODO: Add your permission award code here } } Your second task is to add this assembly to the list of custom actions that your setup will perform during installation To do that, right-click on your setup project in Solution Explorer and choose View | Custom Actions This will show you a list of the custom actions at each phase of the setup, as shown in Figure 1510
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Figure 1510 Setup Project Custom Actions
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To add a custom action to the install phase, right-click on the Install custom action list and choose Add Custom Action This will show the list of folders to place your custom action code into, as shown in Figure 1511
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Figure 1511 Choosing a Folder for a Custom Action
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Double-click Application Folder and choose Add Output to choose the output from one of the other projects in the solution Make sure the class library project with your installer class is selected at the top, and choose Primary Output, as shown in Figure 1512
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Figure 1512 Choosing the Primary Output of Your Class Library Project to Act as a Custom Action
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These settings will cause the installer classes in your class library assembly to be created during the Install phase of your MSI setup Now, when you build and execute the MSI file produced by the setup project, your code will execute at FullTrust and can award permissions for your assemblies [ Team LiB ]
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[ Team LiB ]
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Authenticode
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One more detail that you may find interesting has nothing to do with code, but with the NET security settings for NTD applications and WinForms controls downloaded over the Web In NET v10, assemblies from both the Intranet and the Internet zones were allowed to run, but the Internet permissions were considerably reduced from the Intranet permissions As of version 10 SP1, Microsoft decided that NET wasn't quite cooked enough to support the rough-and-tumble of the Internet, so it changed the settings to disable code from the Internet altogether (although you could always turn it back on) Now, in version 11, Microsoft is confident that it's got a secure platform, and it has turned execution of code from the Internet back on by default, and the Internet permissions themselves have not been reduced But that's not all NET v11 also brings the Authenticode model back from COM The COM Authenticode model was "punitive" If users OK'd a hunk of code to run, it could do absolutely anything it wanted, subject to the permissions of the users (most of whom, let's face it, run as Administrator) If the code did something bad, a team of experts could track it down, find the certificate, and bring the bad people who wrote the code to hard justice (my understanding is that the A-Team was brought out of retirement at least once to help with this effort) The NET CAS model, on the other hand, is "preventive," in that the user is never asked, but the code has only a limited set of permissions if it's from a source other than the local hard drive In practice, it turns out that both models have their uses CAS is great, of course, for keeping bad things from happening Authenticode, on the other hand, is good at letting users know that code from outside their machine is about to execute and asking them if that's OK Whether or not to ask is determined by the same Internet security settings that determine whether or not to ask for a COM control Figure 1513 shows the default settings for code from the Internet zone in NET 11
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